I am all for protecting our honeybees and pollinators etc. But I have to draw the line when I find a big yellow jacket nest on my house. And this one is specifically above my bedroom window. How have I been living with this and not know?
In that photo above, you see the entrance holes along the soffit area above my window. Maybe they have been there all along this summer and I didn’t notice. But what I did notice a few days ago was a few of the yellow jackets in my window sill. We have casement windows with screens and I saw several “dead” ones inside the screen. Then one morning I found one INSIDE crawling & buzzing, trying to get outside into the sunlight. Well, I grabbed hair spray and spritzed her good. I have always heard that you can spray any flying insect and once it dries, their wings are too sticky to fly. Then I whack it with a shoe, magazine, swatter, whatever I can find. Dead!
These yellow jackets (Vespula) are a type of wasp. Eastern ( V. maculifrons ) and common ( V. vulgaris) yellow jackets build similar nests, but these nests are tan and usually underground. Here in Ohio, we have the German yellow jackets ( V. germanica) who commonly attach their nests to buildings or structures.
In nature, I guess yellow jacket nests are a good thing. These insects are pollinators but also predators for caterpillars, flies, and other insect pests. So they are beneficial in the garden and for agriculture in general. But I just cannot have them right in or on my house or nesting in my backyard. They are just too aggressive and can sting repeatedly since their stinger is not torn from their body as it is for a honeybee.
What Do You Do When You Discover A Yellow Jacket Nest?
This is almost a No Brainer! Call a professional! In our case, the yellow jacket nest seemed to be located above the window under the soffit of the house. But that location was about 25 feet above the ground level. Not exactly something I wanted my husband to try doing…or my son or son-in-law.
I googled for pest/bee exterminators in my area and found glowing reviews for the Free Bee Pest Control. ( I have no affiliation with this company and I am not being paid.) Since we had made our discovery over the weekend, I waited until Monday and made a call, desperately hoping they could come out that day. Thankfully, they got us on schedule for noon on Monday.
Did I mention that I am meanwhile not getting to sleep in my bedroom? I just don’t want to be in there in case a bunch of bees get in there looking to sting whoever is bothering the nest, so I am using the couch right now. Not as restful but better than being awake all night wondering if/when I fall asleep, I will awaken when a burning sting occurs. Let’s hope the exterminator can take care of this quickly.
* Free Bee Pest Control LLC., does not condone the extermination of honeybees due to the rapid decline in population. We always contact a State Bee Keeper to collect and safely remove any honeybee swarms.
How Is The Yellow Jacket Nest Eliminated?
First of all, all respect to these guys who go in and treat these nests with chemicals to kill those stinging insects. I could not do anything like that myself. Our guy, Eric, was stung a few times during his attack on our nest, but he just took it in stride. I am not sure why he didn’t “suit up,” but that was his choice. Not even a hood and veil?
The method to kill the yellow jacket nest in our case was to treat with Tempo 1% which is a powder blown into the nest via its entrances up under our overhang. These were very high off the ground, but he used a telescoping set of poles to reach it as you can see in the video. A small probe goes inside the hole and then he poofs the chemical into the nest. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
We did see the buzzing yellow jackets get angry and swarm around the nest opening, but the method of treatment has those insects carrying the powder down into the nest themselves thereby killing the entire nest as they disperse the powder. Some yellow jackets coated with powder seemed to “dive bomb” onto the ground and other windows of the house. I assume the initial blast of the powder killed them almost immediately. However, they buzzed and swarmed around the opening for hours after the treatment.
After that, he sprayed Talstar P along that upper wall and soffit area. This was a liquid insecticide to further treat to remove these yellow jackets. Only the immediate area was treated, a few feet in each direction.
Our first treatment was on Monday, so we were to observe the nest opening for 3 days to see if all activity had ceased. Unfortunately it did not. I hoped it would lessen after 24 hours or so, but it seemed to still have many yellow jackets buzzing in and out of the nest. And I would find a few in the mornings in the bedroom window, on the floor, and some still lazily buzzing in the window.
I called him again on Thursday since there was a guarantee for 6 months and Eric set me up a return visit for that same Friday.
Yellow Jacket Nest Elimination – Part Deux
This time Eric climbed a ladder and got a little closer to the nest to spray with the same apparatus. See video. It seemed as if the treatment was more effective this way and I really felt more hopeful.
In addition to the outside treatment, Eric check into our attic, but could find no evidence up there of the yellow jacket nest or any “buzzers” up there. But he listened on my bedroom wall and heard activity, so I consented that he could drill holes there and put the Tempo powder inside from this angle and therefore kill any that were still alive. So he drilled several holes (which were covered with sticky tape so the wasps would not exit into the house) and also taped some holes in my wall where drapery hooks had previously been. Those holes were uncovered since I have not hung drapes in my bedroom yet since we moved here. ( I just can’t make up my mind what type/color/material I want. Maybe that is a good thing, based on these circumstance.)
The Yellow Jacket Nest All Dead?
I waited two extra nights after seeing NO yellow jackets in my room, and I finally moved back in there to sleep. BTW, it was heaven! Couch sleeping is just not me. I have not seen any yellow jackets either dead or alive on my window or floor. I once saw a lone bee fly around the opening outside and I can only assume she crawled inside to die.
I guess only time will tell. The colder weather coming will stop all the yellow jackets anyway according to info here. They say:
Yellowjackets and other wasp species do not use the same nest again the following year. New queens start a new nest each spring; although a favorable nest site maybe chosen year after year if adequate space is available. New queens, which are the only members of the colony that survive the winter, do not overwinter in the nest. They leave the nest in the fall and overwinter under tree bark and other protected sites. The workers usually die out by the first of November.
Hopefully this is over. Now I need someone to caulk up all those areas where the yellow jacket nest was and repoint some of the bricks, right? Its always something.
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.